Monday, 9 November 2015

Nation Building Core Values 9 - Enterprise by Bobby Udoh

After studying the attitude of Nigerians for years now as part of my nation-building work, I wrote an article titled "Core Values: The Missing Ingredient". In that article, I posited that:

“I am fully persuaded that our greatest need is for a critical mass of citizens to adopt, practice, teach and inspire these values in and through their lives. In doing so, we do not only provide the much needed foundation for credible leadership but more than that, we will see a significant rise in credible leadership at all levels of governance and in all sectors (the home, school, place of worship, workplace) of our nation.”

In his book, “The Heart of America: Ten Core Values That Make Our Country Great”, Bill Halamandaris listed ten core values that built America. Ten values with proven ability to build a world superpower:

Compassion Opportunity Responsibility Equality Valour Ambition Liberty Unity Enterprise Spirituality

For the month of November, my focus will be on the ninth core value – Enterprise. The last month of the year will be dedicated to the last value. Continue.......

What is Enterprise?

Enterprise is defined as the boldness or readiness in undertaking, adventurous spirit or ingenuity. It is the willingness to undertake new ventures or initiatives. I wish to point out that enterprise is not primarily about making profit, but rather, it is about an attitude we adopt when pursuing a vision or passion. Enterprise is excellence.

The developed nations provide an excellent example of enterprise as a fundamental part of their citizens and the key ingredient for their continuous development. Therefore, our desire for a developed Nigeria will come through the spirit of enterprise.

Themes inherent in enterprise are innovation, determination, creativity, enthusiasm and competitiveness. To keep this core value focused on nation-building, it must be tempered by responsibility, compassion and spirituality.

What benefits does this value bring to nation-building?

To see this value in action, we will look at it from its association with the other nation-building core values.

Compassion: Whilst compassion focuses on others and creates a strong desire in us to connect and alleviate their suffering, it is enterprise that identifies and executes creative, consistent compassionate actions.

Opportunity: A result of our underdevelopment has been the lack of opportunities to fulfil our vision and exhibit our passion. But, development comes out the creation and harnessing of opportunities. This only comes through enterprise which always seeks innovative ways to overcome societal obstacles.

Responsibility: Responsibility relies on enterprise to creatively and consistently actualise what we are responsible for.

Equality: The spirit of enterprise helps to remove the societal inequality that hinders the pursuit of our vision and the expression of our passion. Enterprise says ‘we are equal to others’ but it does require equality to remind us that ‘others are equal to us’ as a check on excesses.

Valour: A key motivator for courage is the way the spirit of enterprise shows us ways to initiate solutions we are worried about launching. Enterprise also gives us determination which stirs up our courage to will and do great things that will transform our nation.

Ambition: Enterprise makes a seemingly impossible ambition become a reality. It provides the fuel to begin, and to continue with focus despite opposition and to complete.

Liberty: Yes, it is only a free citizen who can express the spirit of enterprise but in expressing this value, the person makes others free through modelling and mentoring.

Unity: The spirit of enterprise identifies the peculiarities and recognises the value each ethnic group has, and then seeks to harness this for the accomplishment of the goal.

Spirituality: The spirit of enterprise founded in our spirituality, the recognition and pursuit of our God-given assignment on earth will result in the expression of compassion, valour and responsibility; exploitation of opportunities; the pursuit of ambition; and the defense of equality, unity and liberty.

How do we develop Enterprise as a core value?

Through study: We must consistently read stories of citizens of our nation and those of developed nations who expressed enterprise, to get inspired and gain practical steps to put into practice. It is essential to add that we must ensure we are in an environment (circle of influence) of people with this value because their model (example) will shape us.

Through Practice: We need to put into practice what we’ve learnt about enterprise because our understanding will grow as we practice. As our understanding grows, our exhibition of enterprise will be stronger and more visible to others.

Through Teaching: We have a duty to teach others about this value and we do so through our communication, our modelling and our mentoring. We do this to raise the critical mass of citizens with the right mindset and core values actively participating in efforts to build a developed Nigeria.

Many will be converted into nation-building by our teaching of the core values particularly through our modelling (our example).


Enterprise is all about creative, innovative, determined and committed actions. It is a can-do attitude borne out of a growth mindset. So, I reiterate that this is a critical value required to build a developed Nigeria.

Knowing the power of enterprise, are you willing open yourself up to attain the spirit of enterprise?

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